1st Edition

E.T.A. Hoffmann's Musical Aesthetics

ISBN 9781138253056
Published October 5, 2016 by Routledge
216 Pages

USD $59.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Whilst E.T.A. Hoffmann (1776-1822) is most widely known as the author of fantastic tales, he was also prolific as a music critic, productive as a composer, and active as a conductor. This book examines Hoffmann's aesthetic thought within the broader context of the history of ideas of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries, and explores the relationship between his musical aesthetics and compositional practice. The first three chapters consider his ideas about creativity and aesthetic appreciation in relation to the thought of other German romantic theorists, discussing the central tenets of his musical aesthetic - the idea of a 'religion of art', of the composer as a 'genius', and the listener as a 'passive genius'. In particular the relationship between the multifaceted thought of Hoffmann and Friedrich Schleiermacher is explored, providing some insight into the way in which diverse intellectual traditions converged in early-nineteenth-century Germany. In the second half of the book, Hoffmann's dialectical view of music history and his conception of romantic opera are discussed in relation to his activities as a composer, with reference to his instrumental music and his two mature, large-scale operas, Aurora and Undine. The author also addresses broader issues pertaining to the ideological and historical significance of Hoffmann's musical and literary oeuvre.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Art religion; Hoffmann's romantic poetry; Hoffmann's musical hermeneutics revisited; Romantic musical historiography; Romantic opera; Musical taste and ideology; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.

View More



Abigail Chantler has taught at Lancaster University and the Royal Northern College of Music, and has held two Lectureships in the School of Music at Trinity College Dublin. She has also been the recipient of a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences, and of a Stipendium from the Deutsche Akademischer Austausch Dienst. She has broad research interests in musical aesthetics and musical historiography, and is currently preparing a Companion to Musical Aesthetics for Continuum.


’The book usefully draws together most of the current thinking on Hoffmann... Chantler's strength lies on the level of detailed textual exegesis with reference to Romantic literary theory and philosophy. Here she is commendably thorough.’ Music and Letters ’Taken as a whole, Chantler's book probes the reaches of Hoffmann's literary and musical compositions as they pursue poetic ideals while attempting to synthesize the old and new in his artfully-ordered, ironic chaos.’ Notes